Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Rhyme and Reason: Ozomatli presents Ozokidz"

     Hello readers, I was privileged to interview Wil-Dog Abers of Ozomatli on their latest album, Ozokidz! Learn about his perspective about their very first children's album!

What motivated you all as a band to create an album for the kids? 

It started three years ago when we were in Chicago backstage at the house of blues on a Tuesday night.  .. Nobody was showing up to our show and we couldn't figure out why so  I went on Facebook and posted up that said "who wants to come to our show tonight?  I'll give you free tickets"  Everybody was responding saying "sorry it's a school night! Or " I can't get a babysitter tonight" .... so our drummer said "we should do a kids album since all of our fans have kids anyways". Then we started looking into it more more deeply and figured out there was this whole other market of kids music and kids products that we could tap into that would allow families to come to our shows with their children.   

Are there any particular messages you intend to deliver in your songs?

The message with ozokids songs are pretty much consistent with the messages of ozomatli that is inclusion rather exclusion....
As for those ozokidz record ...each song has its own message.  We have  songs about exercising, skateboarding, overcoming fear of water and swimming.  I think that's one thing that is different between out kids stuff and the regular Ozo music is that each some has a defined subject. 

Growing up, were there any artists who influenced you to reach out to children through music?

When I was growing up I never listened to kids music. I was more into groups like the Clash and Prince and Rap music. I did start getting into  kids music until really recently because of doing this album. 

What type of genres would you say you interpret into your music and is there a particular age range this album is dedicated to address?

For the most part we interpret dance music from all over the world. Anything that you can dance to we'll put into our music. I would say this album is geared towards younger children probably age ranges 1 to 6.

The music you have on the Ozomatli albums are very similar to the Ozokids album, what makes the two diverse?

I would say it's a subject matters we would not talk about a moose on the loose on an Ozomatli album.

I caught the Ozokidz concert in Echo Park and if I remember correctly, Asdru's daughter helped sing a song. Is she or any other children of your bandmates included in this album as well?

On this album Asdru's daughter is the only one on it. 

Me and my brother with Wil-Dog after an Ozokidz show.

What do you enjoy most about performing for young adults and children?

I like that you have to read the audience, stay on your toes and never miss a beat or they might get bored. It's defiantly been a learning process for us.  

Ive been to an Ozomatli concert and an Ozokidz concert. I notice that you give the same amount of energy for both. Would you say you have just as much fun performing for both?

I definitely have just as much fun playing for both however for the kids it's been a learning process and it's not easy it takes constant energy. Where on a regular Ozomatli show there's times that you can relax and take a breather with the kids you can never relax recently offered a free download of the song, "Balloon Fest". You can download it here.

What is your personal favorite song from the album and why?

"Germs" is one of my favorites because it has Justin and Asdru singing. I like it when different people are singing on one song it makes it really interesting and different.  I also like how the song talks about good germs that you need and also germs that are harmful to you.

All the songs on this album have a very positive vibe. They are upbeat and motivational. Not to mention educational aswell. For instance, the song about exercise and how to stay healthy and enviornmental friendly. I highly recommend this album for those of you who have children. As for those of you who don't, you still might find this album enjoyable. Afterall.. it is Ozomatli!!

Brianna Marie is a an over achieving Sophmore at a local High School. Her many interests include painting and writing but making music tops the list. You can find her singing with her band, hanging out with her friends or volunteering at the library.

Monday, September 24, 2012

This Week At The Cypress Park Branch Library (Sept 24-29th)


2- 4:30pm "Used Book Sale"
The "Friends of The Cypress Park Library" holds a small book sale every Monday in the community room. This one isn't as big as the one they hold Saturdays but it's just as important and proceeds fund library programs and some materials. Please join us.

3:30-5:30pm "Story Time And Reading"
Books come alive for kids when they share the fun of reading with S.T.A.R. library volunteers. Grandma Sara will be here.

2-3pm "Infant/Toddler Story Time
Miss Alicia will read stories to the children and we’ll alsobe making crafts. This free program is for children up to the age of 12.


12-1pm "Adult computer class"
Adults, join us for a beginner's guide to the internet. Patrick will teach you the basics of web browsing, word processing and how to create and access your email account. Bring your questions. Patrick will supply the answers.
4-5pm Today's "Teen Art Hour" will be an Introduction to Origami. Have fun learning how to make the basic folds that lead to all the beautiful Origami classics like the Crane, San-Bow, Fortune Teller and many others.

Books comes alive for children when theyshare the fun of reading with S.T.A.R. library volunteers. Grandpa Allen will be here.

The "Friends of the Cypress Park Library" will be holding a used book sale in the community room. Previously enjoyed books, tapes and CDs will be available ranging in price from .25 - $1. Please join us. Proceeds from the book sale go to fund special library programs, events and materials.

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Conversation with 'La Angelena'

      When you think of Los Angeles, what comes to mind? Palm trees and a cool breeze? Traffic? Sure, but what about history? Or should I say "H-E-R-story" because after all, we are living in the City of Angels, "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula" to be exact. 

Norman Klein's book, "The History of Forgetting", talks about how fast our city changes and how easy it is to forget what used to be. While we're busy "THINKing BLUE", the powers that be are constantly thinking "new".  

Now, there's nothing wrong with change. We all know it's gonna come but just as important as knowing where you're going is knowing where we've been. 

That's where 'La Angelena' comes in. She delivers L.A.'s history 140 characters at a time. Like Leo Politi, she educates and illustrates our city. Except she's using Twitter and Instagram to do it. I'm a big fan of what she does and have so many questions for her. I was so excited when she agreed to answer them for me and even more when I got the answers. Keep reading and check them out for yourself.

Your knowledge of Los Angeles history is incredible. You know I'm a HUGE fan of both of The City of Angels and of yours for all the info you share. Angelenos share the city but few share your passion for it's history. At what age did the interest to learn as much as you could hit you and how long have you been sharing it? 

 Thank you so much! And, for the record, I'm a big fan of all your work at the Cypress Park Library!

I should first say that @LAhistory is a mother-daughter project and mom has been sharing stories (directly and indirectly) since the 1960s. Mom wrote about Los Angeles for Sunset Magazine from 1960s-1980s and then worked for the Huntington Library for the next 25 years.

Ever since I can remember, mom dragged me along on her assignments for Sunset and then I spent many summer vacations as a very young volunteer at the Huntington Library.  I may not have appreciated it at the time but learning about Los Angeles was always in the background of my life...either through mom's work or through family stories. We have about 120 years of family history here so it's easy for a family story to turn into an LA one.

I love telling people that I'm into LA history as they usually begin sharing these interesting stories about their parents or grandparents.  And that's when I get passionate as I want people to document their own histories in Los Angeles -- to scan their family's old photos and record the stories of their grandparents. I notice our Twitter feed tends towards individuals' stories (as say, compared to LA's architecture). We tweet names, and try to repeat those names in hopes that the memory of these people seep into the city's collective memory. Even when Angelenos have plaques dedicated in their honor, we still forget who they are. For instance, I recently came across the Eleanor Chambers Memorial Fountain located in City Hall East. I'd never even heard of Eleanor Chambers.And when my mom and I research these stories of Angelenos who came before us, I think perhaps we feel closer to our own loved ones who have passed

Eleanor Chambers Memorial Fountain. Photo courtesy of

Our goal in starting @LAhistory was to share our knowledge, enthusiasm and learning of LA history as well as to share the expertise of LA's amazing history community. It was never to be a definitive source on the subject, which would be impossible. Historian (and LA native) Abe Hoffman mentioned that even after 40 years of researching Los Angeles history, he was still learning. That's what's so great about researching Los Angeles as there is always something new to learn.

When my kids ask me a question and I don't know the answer I immediately think "Let me google it.". What is your favorite way to conduct your research? Has that always been your favorite? 

 We do love to research!  I could easily spend a day just clicking through the Los Angeles Public LIbrary's online photo archive. But our favorite way to research is spending the day in an actual archive - wearing the white gloves and paging through musty folders.

It's amazing to touch the same photos or letters of the city's early Angelenos. I have a full-time job but I take vacation days to spend the day with mom in a local archive. So far, we've researched in the LA City Archives, Seaver Center for Western History Research at the Natural History Museum, Scripps Special Collections, Loyola's Department of Archives and Special Collections, UCLA's Charles E. Young Research Library and the Californiana Room that once was at the Rosemead Library. Mom is a reader at the Huntington Library, so she is there every week and I've spent many Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the LA Public Library researching old Los Angeles Times through the ProQuest database (available for free).

We illustrate @LAhistory tweets with images from online archives (which are available online) or with quote from books (made easier with Google Books preview). Hopefully by illustrating our tweets with photos from these archives, people will save, scan and share their family's old photos. Some of the online archives we use include LA Public Library, CSUN's Oviatt Library (which has a great Latino Cutural Heritage Archives), USC Libraries, UCLA Digital Library, Santa Monica Public Library, Long Beach Library.  But so much information remains tucked away deep in LA's archives as it's very expensive to digitize collections. Often, the only way to know what is an archive, is to view the finding aid. But frankly, finding aids don't excite (most) people about LA history. Stories do.

Long Beach Public Library

Oviatt Library Cal State University Northridge

 Your twitter feed, @LAhistory, is a great way to share historic facts of the city. I like that you send out "this day in L.A. history" tweets.  How do you keep track of all the facts? You must have a gigantic book collection. 

 How did you know we had a huge book collection (though it doesn't stop us from buying more used and new books  :)  My favorite used book of the moment is the 1888 "California of the South," written by Walter Lindly and Joseph Widney (it's available online:  I bought the book at the Oviatt Library's used bookstore for $2. The book is tattered and the binding loose, but it's full of 1930s handwritten comments in the margins (the same handwriting that names the owner and gives the date is the same throughout the book). Reading the book feels like a conversation that spans time.

"California of the South" Walter Lindley and Joseph Widney

We keep track of our dates with a calendar in which we set the events to re-occur yearly. This helps us find what we tweeted in 2011, 2010 and 2009 (most of the time). There are so many ways to slice LA history. We chose a "this day in LA history" because it creates a daily opportunity to access LA's wonderful archives. I should note, the Studio for Southern California History created an app [link:] that also features this day in LA history. We're fans of the Studio for Southern California History and friends with its founder Sharon Sekhon so always happy to promote her free tours (

I feel like class is in session everytime you tweet. Have you ever considered teaching a class or writing a book about everything you know about our great city? 

 Again, you are too kind. You know, there are so many people knowledgeable about this city and its history and they lead wonderful tours and publish thought-provoking articles and books...that I'd worry about repeating efforts.  That said, we do have some book ideas that we're developing. We've been asked several times why we don't have a blog but it's so much more fun to connect the dots among all the great resources on a given subject.

For now, Twitter is our medium for sharing the city's history. For some organizations, Twitter is an afterthought but we are very mindful about how we tweet. For instance, to avoid overwhelming a user's Twitter feed, we leave about 20-30 minutes between tweets. We tweet assuming most won't click on the link so we provide as much information as possible under 140 characters (the date, location, time and price). Comprehensive stories are trickier but we do enjoy the challenge of Twitter as a storytelling medium. 


You've recently created an Instagram account in addition to your Twitter and Tumblr accounts. I personally think Instagram's an awesome way for followers to see what they're learning about. How do you feel Instagram is working for what you're doing and is there one platform in particular that you prefer?

 Though Twitter is our main medium, we have branched out to Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram. And frankly, we scaled back on Tumblr and Pinterest as we felt we were spreading ourselves to thin. It's also why we don't have a Facebook page. Coordinating a Facebook page, and monitoring the conversations, can be a huge time commitment. Mom is a fan of Tumblr, though she wishes more of her 70-something peers knew about Tumblr. I personally enjoy Instagram as I'm a photographer (by nature, not by training) and love finding ways to illustrate a story we've told with text on Twitter.  I have a new media background, so I can spend hours dissecting the nuances between the social networks.  

Here are a few picture from @LAhistory's Instagram feed. 

 Wow! I can't thank you enough for your time. This was amazing. Please feel free to do your research here anytime.

Thanks for this opportunity. And I hope you're documenting all the great history you're making at Cypress Park Library

  Well, there you have it. I hope you all check out and follow @LAhistory (if you aren't already). I'm sure it'll be one of your favorite Twitter feeds. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rhyme and Reason (Sept 18th)


Hello readers,
 This is my second review and I am glad to be sharing my opinion on this album of a great and unique Chicano band. I’d like to start off with sharing with you all my personal experience at a Las Cafeter@s show that I recently was privileged to attend. The moment the band arrived on stage, a vivacious and welcoming vibe was carried throughout the audience. Their voices and instruments truly make you feel at home. Las Cafeter@s have a unique sound. They mix up genres in their music and incorporate dance as well. Yes, dance! While the band is still playing, a few of the band mates will get up in front of the audience and perform a traditional Mexican genre of dance called folklorico. I danced folklorico for many years so I had a hard time staying still in my seat. Moreover, the band members use their dance steps as percussion to add more rhythm to the songs.

                   Each song has a meaningful message that many can relate to. They interpret ethnic history, culture, and tradition into their lyrics and instrumentals. Furthermore, they have a modern sound as well.  Las Cafeter@s is a band that can reach out to people and make them feel at home with their music. They’re able to bring out and highlight Chicano culture by infusing traditional music and dance into one. I highly recommend you check out their album. 

Choosing a favorite song on this album is tough. If I could narrow it down to one it’d be "La Bamba Rebelde".  There are many, many, versions of this song but probably not one as fun and fresh since Ritchie Valens released his version in 1958.
Check out the video of "La Bamba Rebelde" and you’ll agree.

Thanks to a generous donation by David Cid of, you can come by the branch today and check out Las Cafeter@s' new CD. "It's time".

Brianna Marie is a an over achieving Sophmore at a local High School. Her many interests include painting and writing but making music tops the list. You can find her singing with her band, hanging out with her friends or volunteering at the library.

Monday, September 17, 2012

This Week at The Library (Sept17-21)

3:30 - 4:30pm "LACMA Family Art Program" 
Join us and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art every third Monday of the month for our Family Art classes. Learn about various artists and learn art through various mediums. Each class teaches something new.

3:30-5:30pm "Story Time And Reading"
Books come alive for kids when they share the fun of reading with S.T.A.R. library volunteers. Our volunteer, Sara will be here reading to the kids.

2-3pm "Infant/Toddler Story Time"
Join us as we celebrate Mexican Independence Day. Miss Alicia will read stories to the children and we’ll also be making some cool crafts. This free program is intended for children 12 years and younger.

12-1pm "Adult Computer Class" 
Adults, join us for a beginner's guide to the internet. Patrick will teach you the basics of web browsing, word processing and how to create and access your email account. Bring your questions. Patrick will supply the answers.

4-5pm "Teen Bingo Night"
The 2012 Summer Reading Club has just wrapped up but the fun doesn't stop there. Join Paula for an hour of Bingo and prizes.

12-1pm "Story Time And Reading" 
Books comes alive for children when they share the fun of reading with S.T.A.R. library volunteers. Our volunteer, Allen will be here reading to the kids.

10-2pm "The Friends of the Library's Book Sale"
The friends of the Cypress Park Library host their large monthly book sale. Hundreds of books, DVDs, VHS tapes and audio books ranging in price from .25-$1. All proceeds are donated to our library. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Disability Art Exhibit

                                                 City of Los Angeles
   Department on Disability and the Los Angeles Public Library

                                 A Disability Art Exhibit
                                   Cypress Park Library
                                  1150 Cypress Avenue
                                  Los Angeles California
                    September 13th - November 30, 2012

In honor of Deaf Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month and in support of the more than 700,000 persons with disabilities in the City of Los Angeles

These artworks were part of an art exhibition at the historic Los Angeles City Hall in November 2011. The art show featured 91 artworks from 42 artists ranging in age from 13 to 72 and all living with disabilities. This show is intended to demonstrate that persons with disabilities have TALENTS and ABILITIES, and to encourage others with disabilities to “stretch,” express, and celebrate their talents and abilities.

Todd Tostado - "Love" Computer designed 4x6 pictures. For more info 323-253-7380

"Sundae 1 (pink) and 2" (yellow) by Sarah Woo 7 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches. For more info 323-627-7374
"Clown #1" - David Foster Acrylic 18x 18 inches For more info 323-627-7374 
You've got to come see this amazing display for yourself. Every piece is available for sale. Support these inspiring artists. 

Artists Represented: Kenia Bailon, Wilbert Bent,Milton Davis, David Fierra, David Foster, Leroy Hamilton, Zione Hong, Judy Lopez, Sara Lugo, Todd Tostado, Vanessa Vaughan, Sara Woo, Tony Brown, Jhovana Cecena, Tom Doyle, David Foster, Zione Hong, Saphire Kelly, Sheridan Keyser, Jose Madero, Cecilia Magos, Todd Tostado and Annie Young. Curator: Sheridan Keyser

Preparing for "An Evening of Mass Education"

A lot of preparation went into what might be the biggest literary event we might see for a good while. We pulled out all the stops for "An Evening of Mass Education: ¡Ban This! Book Reading/Signing". We first put the word out on Twitter and with the help of many friends we've made online, it spread like wild fire. Through collaborative efforts from many allies on Twitter, articles on websites like and and Lalo Alcaraz mentioning the program on his radio show, "The Pocho Hour of Power", on, before we knew it, 25 of the book's 39 contributor's had agreed to be here to join us - including the book's editor, Santino Rivera, who flew out from his home in St. Augustine, Florida.

Emilio Medina, graphic designer and owner of created and donated a design to the Friends of the Cypress Park Library who would sell it as stickers and raise $115 at the event.

We had big names like Lalo Alcaraz, creator of La Cucaracha comic strip, local writers like Matt Sedillo, Jim Marquez and Frank Mundo. College professors like Francisco X. Alarcon and Dr. Rodolfo F. Acuña read their contributions from the book. Their participation showed great support for the spirit of the event, for the other writers,  as well as for the editor/writer responsible for  ¡Ban This!,  Mr. Santino J. Rivera.

Santino Rivera reading his poem, "Librarian's Creed". He wrote and dedicated this poem to our branch.

Earlier in the day, while he was at L.A. City Hall, a reporter asked Councilman Ed Reyes his thoughts on Dr. Rudy Acuña appearing at our event.  Mr. Reyes decided at that moment that he had to come to Cypress Park to not only see Dr. Acuña in person, but to make a public pledge of gratitude for the impact Dr. Acuna's work has made on the councilman's life and intellectual awakening. In the video clip below, Councilman Reyes addresses the people in attendance and talks about how important our online reach has proven to be.

"We're going to be breaking through a lot of walls because your voice will be heard." - Ed Reyes

Here are some of the pix we pulled off Instagram to show the experiences our guests wanted to share with the world.


KPCC's Adolfo Guzman Lopez wrote an article on Santino Rivera, his book and our event. You can read it here.

Here are a couple of screen shots of tweets from the night.


We livestream every big event online at
Viewers worldwide are able to join in on programs and chat with other viewers. For this particluar event we reached a total of 25 viewers.

Online ally and friend to our library, Cindy Marie Jenkins did an amazing job live blogging the event. Please check out her awesome work here.

There are a lot of people who have yet to realize the power of social media. Social media has proven to us to be an effective tool when it comes to connecting us with patrons within our own community and those outside as well. 

We have Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook accounts that are all linked to much more efficiently spread the word on any branch related news. We also post tons of info on our library blog at

Follow us online. Let's connect.